FIT May Spotlight: Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH

May 17, 2017 | Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH
Career Development

Each month, the Fellows in Training (FIT) Section newsletter, ACC On-Call, will highlight the achievements of one cardiology FIT. The Section would like to recognize Fatima Rodriguez, MD, MPH, chief fellow at Stanford University, as the 'star FIT' for the month of May. Fatima describes her research interests, hobbies, career goals and involvement with the ACC in a short interview below.

What are your plans after cardiology fellowship?
I will stay at Stanford for an additional year of research training supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health. Ultimately, I hope to combine clinical practice in preventive cardiology with population-based research aimed at reducing health disparities.

What are your research interests?
My research focuses on understanding the patient and system level barriers that prevent diverse populations from receiving high-quality, guideline-concordant cardiovascular care. I'm interested in using novel technologies to increase access to preventive care and improve patient engagement.

What are your hobbies outside of cardiology?
I moved to the Bay Area almost three years ago. My hobbies include drinking Philz coffee (it's really good!), spinning, Zumba and spending time outdoors. Being from Miami, I'm still not brave enough to get into the artic Pacific waters!

How do you approach work-life balance?
I have a very active 11-month old son and a husband who is a physician. Work-life balance has become an increasingly important goal for both of us. Baby time is protected and, barring clinical emergencies, I try to be fully present with my son and family most evenings and weekends. It also helps that I enjoy my work – I love taking care of patients and asking interesting research questions.

Do you have any mentors that you would like to recognize?
I have been blessed with many wonderful mentors at Stanford and throughout my training. In particular, Robert Harrington, MD, MACC, has been a tremendous clinical and research mentor. He has opened doors and encouraged me to be more active with the ACC, including being part of the ACC Latin America Conference Planning Committee. I've had the privilege of having a research mentoring team comprised of renowned physician scientists including Latha Palaniappan, MD, MS, FACC; Paul Heidenreich, MD, MS, FACC; David Maron MD, FACC; and Kenneth Mahaffey, MD, FACC. They have been instrumental in shaping my career in academic cardiology. My amazing program director, John Giacomini, MD, FACC, leads a fellowship program that effectively promotes clinical excellence and research productivity. He is an unconditional advocate for all of his trainees.

How did you first become involved with the ACC?
I first became involved with the ACC as a medical resident in 2013. I had the opportunity to give an oral presentation on my research at the annual meeting. I worked with CardioSmart to translate key research findings to patients and to create Spanish-language patient information references.

What other ACC activities are you involved in?
I've authored several articles on secondary prevention topics for I was part of the 2016 Latin America Conference Planning Committee and a recipient of the 2016 ACC/Merck Research Fellowship Award. I am also an active member of ACC's Disparities Working Group.

What advice do you have for other FIT members?
Get involved with the ACC early in your training! There are tons of opportunities for meaningful activities including serving on local and national committees. There are opportunities for travel awards and research funding. The national meetings are terrific places to connect with mentors and colleagues from other institutions.